Best Young Adult Fiction Ever? I’ll Be The Judge of That.

So the other day Janssen posted about NPR’s list of the Best Ever YAF Novels, along with her opinions of some of the books she’d read from the list. I thought it was interesting and I’m nothing if not a giant copycat, so here’s my favorites and not so favorites from the list. Look forward to more copying from other people coming soon.

From the favorites, I can only conclude that I like books where girls make out with boys. Am I right? Yes.

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Anne of Green Gables (series), by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver.
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Betsy-Tacy Books (series), by Maud Hart Lovelace
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series), by Louise Rennison
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart
Dreamland, by Sarah Dessen
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff
Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta
Jessica Darling (series), by Megan McCafferty
Just Listen, by Sarah Dessen
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
The Lumatere Chronicles (series), by Melina Marchetta
Lux (series), by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green, David Levithan
Weetzie Bat (series), by Francesca Lia Block
Where She Went, by Gayle Forman
This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (series), by Ann Brashares
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Chrutcher
The Mortal Instruments (series), by Cassandra Clare
Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King
The Only Alien on the Planet, by Kristen D. Randle (Might be my favorite YAF book of all time)
Perfect Chemistry, by Simone Elkeles
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Liked
Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
Blood Red Road, by Moira Young
The Book of Blood and Shadow, by Robin Wasserman
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Divergent (series), by Veronica Roth
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
The First Part Last, by Angela Johnson
The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
Forever…, by Judy Blume
Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
Hate List, by Jennifer Brown
How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr
The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow
Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff
Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley
Why We Broke Up, by Daniel Handler
Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
The Truth About Forever, by Sarah Dessen
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han
Monster, by Walter Dean Myers
North of Beautiful, by Justina Chen Headley

Meh
13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson
An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green
Along for the Ride, by Sarah Dessen
Annie on My Mind, by Nancy Garden
Crank (series), by Ellen Hopkins
Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins
Elsewhere, by Gabrielle Zevin
The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (series), by Libba Bray
The Girl of Fire and Thorns, by Rae Carson
The Giver (series), by Lois Lowry
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
Graceling (series), by Kristin Cashore
The Green Glass Sea, by Ellen Klages
The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
Impossible, by Nancy Werlin
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
The Maze Runner Trilogy (series), by James Dashner
Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Stolen, by Lucy Christopher
Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr
Sweethearts, by Sara Zarr
Split, by Swati Avasthi
The Piper’s Son, by Melina Marchetta

Yeah, No Thank You
Across the Universe, by Beth Revis
Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman
Chime, by Franny Billingsley
Delirium (series), by Lauren Oliver
Fallen (series), by Lauren Kate
Feed, by M.T. Anderson
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente
Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
I Am the Messenger, by Markus Zusak
Matched (series), by Ally Condie
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
Under the Never Sky, by Veronica Rossi
Shine, by Lauren Myracle
Ship Breaker, by Paolo Bacigalupis
The Shiver Trilogy, by Maggie Stiefvater
The Rules of Survival, by Nancy Werlin
The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
Paper Towns, by John Green

I Tried to Read This So Many Times, I Swear
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
Brooklyn, Burning, by Steve Brezenoff
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, by Jordan Sonnenblick
Dune, by Frank Herbert
Everybody Sees the Ants, by A.S. King
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series), by Douglas Adams
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith


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9 Responses

  1. I keep trying to get into YA fiction and I can’t and it makes me feel really left out of things. Not in a judgmental way, there is a LOT of “adult” fiction I can’t get into either. Maybe I’m just a terrible reader, which is very depressing as a former English major.

    That said, uuuuuuuugh did I not like The Book Thief.

  2. I bought the second book in the luxe series just because you seemed so heartbroken that I didn’t love the first one. HIGH expectations.

  3. I vow to read all these books and write a blog post in which I say exactly the opposite. (Except not really because I too loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Anne of Green Gables, so we agree on at least those first two.) Lots of books added to my list here.

  4. For my YA class I had to read 150 YA books and by far my favorite was Scrawl by Mark Shulman. Some other good ones – First Part Last by Angela Johnson and You Dont Know Me by David Klass Also Sold by Patricia McCormick. Totally agree on The Book Thief, I was lucky to find a synopsis online, sometimes abridged is the way to go.

  5. I had no idea some of these were considered YA. Mostly the old ones – The Hobbit, Lord of the Flies, Farenheit 451.

    • I don; think they really are YAF either, but I think as the category expands, it gets more fluid.

  6. I didn’t agree with that list at all either. I agree with your list completely, with the exception of I Capture the Castle, which I love love loved, and Weetzie Bat, which I could never finish.

  7. My absolute favorites were by Ellen Emerson White. I first read her “The President’s Daughter” series when I was in middle school, and continued to read them over and over and over until they literally fell apart. I hadn’t read them since college, but bought them again last year following their re-release. I was amazed by how well they held up. I loved the characters, I loved the dark humor, and — key to their holding up so well — I loved how the author did not speak like she was writing for young adults, but rather, just wrote well about young adults. Highly recommend.

  8. I LURVE seeing what other people like or dislike. What a fun list!

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